March 25 2010 3:12PM
Christopher Wheeldon started well when he launched his new ballet company,Morphoses, at Sadler’s Wells last week, but his second programme was even betterthan the first. If this is what we can expect from him in future, when his troupe is upand running for real (this was merely a taster to kick things off), we’re in for a treat.The second programme began with Allegro Brillante, Wheeldon’s nod to the lateGeorge Balanchine, whose company – New York City Ballet - did more than any otherto develop Wheeldon’s talent. Alexandra Ansanelli and Angel Corella as the lead coupleunderstood that this is a work built for pleasure and delivered ebullient performances,especially Ansanelli, whose teasing musicality embodied her rebellious high spirits. Allegro Brillante was the only ballet here not to feature Wendy Whelan, who otherwise was the star of the evening. She brought hyperarticulation and a wayward mystique to William Forsythe’s Slingerland pas de deux (partnered by Edwaard Liang) and astunning motherlode of emotion to Wheeldon’s After the Rain. Never have I see thelatter’s languid duet performed with such a powerful flood of sadness or such apersuasive promise of renewal.The highlight of the evening, though, was Wheeldon’s new Fools’ Paradise, a gorgeouscreation that moves from one moment of beauty to another. Part of its allure lies inJoby Talbot’s scintillating music. His orchestral version of his Dying Swan film score washes through the consciousness, slowly unfurling pristine melodies as it weaves aseductively saturated atmosphere. It was wonderfully played by the Royal BalletSinfonia conducted by Barry Wordsworth.The ballet itself is luscious and dreamlike as the nine captivating dancers appear anddisappear like phantoms. The mood is abundantly romantic as each is touched by thechoreography’s enchantment, while a cascade of falling stars (leaves?) amid the dark light turns potential kitsch into magic. The end is a sculpted tableau that suggests theforging of a strong and permanent bond. And that’s as good a metaphor as any for Wheeldon’s hopes for his new venture.
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